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Old 09-03-2018, 10:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattks View Post
Yeah, I guess I don't understand what you are wanting. China is very Beijing centric and it has been for quite some time, and I don't see that changing.

The rolling of the r's is more or less an accent, its not going to effect understanding very much. So someone who doesn't roll r's (like me), can understand a person who does and visa versa just fine.

I live in an area where r's are rolled and when I first started learning Mandarin, it confused me quite a bit. In the textbooks there is no r rolling, but everyone did it. For a while I adapted and did roll my r's on some words, but then some foreign friends asked what I was doing that for. It was just the way I learned, but its not necessary.
Chinese textbooks used in China do have erhua.
I still recall our teacher taught us how 根儿 and 歌儿 are different when most students couldn't make it right.
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Old 09-03-2018, 10:23 AM
 
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News broadcast always uses "standard" pronunciation. It is true in the US, UK, Japan, Korea.... In Hong Kong they use a standard version of Cantonese too.
In Taiwan, there are actually not so many people who can pronounce Mandarin in a perfect way, so more variations are found. However, their news tends to follow some standard too. For example, the news anchors all distinguish s/sh, while most Taiwanese do not.
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Old 09-03-2018, 02:03 PM
 
196 posts, read 134,692 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
Not sure what the premise is of this thread, but if one really has to nitpick, then Taiwanese Mandarin certainly has some differences with Mainland Mandarin. But that is kind of expected. However, the standard pronunciations are identical in both cases, so to speak "standard" Mandarin, one has to learn to "roll their tongue" and pronounce "r" properly. Taiwanese need to "roll their tongues" much less often though, because "erhua" is not a feature of Taiwanese Mandarin at all, while it is very prominent in Beijing and many other parts of China where Mandarin is the "native" language.


Erhua was not adopted in Taiwan because the "r" sound is completely absent in most Southern Chinese languages/dialects (absent in Minnan/Taiwanese and Hakka) and most uses of erhua are colloquial and there is often a more formal alternative. In Taiwan, here is "zheli" and a bit is "yidian", while mainland Chinese books teaching Mandarin will use "zher" for here and "yidianr" for a bit. When Taiwan separated from China, it's easier for them to teach the more formal alternatives in school as less than 10% were native Mandarin speakers at that time. These words are what people use and hear in Taipei nowadays though. By contrast, it's not easy to change how "here" or "a bit" is spoken in China where millions are native speakers with Beijingers leading the way in rolling their tongues.


"Tongue rolling" is just a minor difference though. I just finished watching Nirvana in Fire few months ago, and there is no "tongue rolling" there. It's probably because erhua doesn't fit with the historical period the show was set it. I just learned though that aside from two main characters, all the other voices were dubbed. The two characters who used their original voices were from Shanghai and Hubei, so they're not exactly from the North or the Northeast. Not sure why movie and TV shows in China are more often dubbed and voices changed, but I suspect it's because the country is huge and many have very heavy accents, with some pretty difficult to understand and change. In contrast, American accents are fairly uniform and most American actors/actresses easily learn to speak like a New Yorker or a Southerner, when the part calls for it. At the very least, most can change their accents to the American Midwestern accent that can sound more "neutral" to most ears and does not call attention to the accent. It's more difficult with Chinese. Many have very heavy regional accents that many outside the area find difficult to understand. If not dubbed, it's like the equivalent of having an actor with a very heavy Irish accent play the role of someone from California. It can be very difficult to understand and very distracting for most viewers.


I have visited about a dozen cities in China, and ironically, I have the most problems understanding what is being said by taxi drivers in cities where Mandarin is the native language. In the South, people know that their native tongue is not mutually intelligible with Standard Mandarin, so they switch right away and can speak "standard Chinese" to be understood. In the native Mandarin cities, some people probably think their native tongue is close enough to the standard, but they're really difficult to understand for those not used to it. I found the most problems in Shandong, Dalian and Beijing. The taxi driver I got in Beijing didn't sound like he's from there, my guess is he's from Shanxi, but who knows. I preferred not to understand his complaints anyway (I know that he is complaining about having me as a passenger as my destination from the airport is too close).
Your point about actors/actresses playing the roles are a different situation. If they have to act as a Californian, then they have to speak like it. If they have to act like they are from New York, then have to adjust to speaking like a New Yorker. If the character is a southerner, then they have to adjust to speaking like it. Etc.

However, for newscasters, talk show hosts, and even for regular character roles that do not have to come from a certain USA region, they are allowed to speak in whatever accent they are accustomed to as long as if they can pronounce the words clearly enough for regular people to understand. You can have an Irish person play a character role in a movie/show and if there is no specifics of where their character has to originate from, they can still speak with an Irish accent as long as if they can pronounce the words clearly enough even if they apply for a newscaster position in the USA. If a person is speaking in a very heavy regional accent where it is difficult for others to understand, then yes they have to readjust their pronunciations to make it easier for others to understand, but not necessarily have to drop their accent entirely as I have said in the previous post.

But in China, they totally go out of the way to make all the hosts/actors on television shows/movies to speak almost exactly like a Beijing person and will not accept any other regional accents. Yes, it is true, in a lot of China's different regions, they sometimes speak with heavy accents that others cannot understand and I can understand they have to change their speech patterns and tones to make it easier for others to understand, however unfortunately in the mainland Chinese entertainment business, to a lot of the managers, it is still not good enough for them that others understand what they are saying, they will go out of the way to tell them to speak exactly or almost exactly like a Beijing person. However, they only make exceptions if the person is a special guest on a TV show from another region or if the character the actors are playing comes from a specific region.
__________________________________________________ _______

As I have said before, in USA, there are a lot of southerners and even New Yorkers or whatever USA regions they are from that apply for newscaster positions or talk show positions and yet they can still speak with their own regional accents as long as if they speak and pronounce the words clearly enough for others to understand.

Imagine if USA had the same standards of speaking like a northern USA person just like China wanting everyone to speak like a Beijing person, here are the following examples of what would happen.......

---Let's talk about the following famous Americans that have southern accents.

Dr. Phil and Nancy Grace, whom have their own talk shows or are TV hosts, former Presidents Clinton and Bush.
-Had USA had these ridiculous American accent standards, Clinton and Bush would not have been allowed to run for presidency and Dr. Phil and Nancy Grace would not have been allowed to have their own talk shows or be a TV host all because they have southern accents.

---African Americans are another good example. They have their own way of speaking English and even if they speak standard English where they can be understood, they still have a noticeable accent.

-Had USA had these ridiculous American accent standards, they would not have been allowed to speak the way you hear them speak on television and even their slang terms that are heard on TV would have been almost completely banned in media.

---Actors/Actresses with Tristate New York accents.
-Had USA had these ridiculous American accent standards, They have would not been allowed to speak with their regional accents.
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Old 09-03-2018, 04:51 PM
 
6,726 posts, read 6,615,943 times
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^^Yes TV shows and movies in China do show other accents. As you know, when they need to portray a peasant from Henan in a movie, Henan accent is used.
American TV shows pretty much use the same standard accent too, unless they want to emphasize the regional identify or ethnic background.

None of the broadcasters from CNN FOXNEWS or MSNBC speaks African American English or Texas twang.

Also, standard Mandarin is NOT really Beijing dialect. Everyone from China can tell the difference within 10 seconds of speech.
In China, all broadcasters need to pass a pronunciation exam. Only those who score 97/100 or higher are allowed to read news for state TV channels. Teachers of Chinese language need to score 88(?). In a way, Chinese media have the most strict rules for pronunciation in the world.

Last edited by Bettafish; 09-03-2018 at 04:59 PM..
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Earth
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i've been using the hellochinese app on the iphone. its very good.
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Old 09-04-2018, 03:33 AM
 
1,099 posts, read 1,672,208 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toby2016 View Post
Your point about actors/actresses playing the roles are a different situation. If they have to act as a Californian, then they have to speak like it. If they have to act like they are from New York, then have to adjust to speaking like a New Yorker. If the character is a southerner, then they have to adjust to speaking like it. Etc.

However, for newscasters, talk show hosts, and even for regular character roles that do not have to come from a certain USA region, they are allowed to speak in whatever accent they are accustomed to as long as if they can pronounce the words clearly enough for regular people to understand. You can have an Irish person play a character role in a movie/show and if there is no specifics of where their character has to originate from, they can still speak with an Irish accent as long as if they can pronounce the words clearly enough even if they apply for a newscaster position in the USA. If a person is speaking in a very heavy regional accent where it is difficult for others to understand, then yes they have to readjust their pronunciations to make it easier for others to understand, but not necessarily have to drop their accent entirely as I have said in the previous post.

But in China, they totally go out of the way to make all the hosts/actors on television shows/movies to speak almost exactly like a Beijing person and will not accept any other regional accents. Yes, it is true, in a lot of China's different regions, they sometimes speak with heavy accents that others cannot understand and I can understand they have to change their speech patterns and tones to make it easier for others to understand, however unfortunately in the mainland Chinese entertainment business, to a lot of the managers, it is still not good enough for them that others understand what they are saying, they will go out of the way to tell them to speak exactly or almost exactly like a Beijing person. However, they only make exceptions if the person is a special guest on a TV show from another region or if the character the actors are playing comes from a specific region.
__________________________________________________ _______

As I have said before, in USA, there are a lot of southerners and even New Yorkers or whatever USA regions they are from that apply for newscaster positions or talk show positions and yet they can still speak with their own regional accents as long as if they speak and pronounce the words clearly enough for others to understand.

Imagine if USA had the same standards of speaking like a northern USA person just like China wanting everyone to speak like a Beijing person, here are the following examples of what would happen.......

---Let's talk about the following famous Americans that have southern accents.

Dr. Phil and Nancy Grace, whom have their own talk shows or are TV hosts, former Presidents Clinton and Bush.
-Had USA had these ridiculous American accent standards, Clinton and Bush would not have been allowed to run for presidency and Dr. Phil and Nancy Grace would not have been allowed to have their own talk shows or be a TV host all because they have southern accents.

---African Americans are another good example. They have their own way of speaking English and even if they speak standard English where they can be understood, they still have a noticeable accent.

-Had USA had these ridiculous American accent standards, they would not have been allowed to speak the way you hear them speak on television and even their slang terms that are heard on TV would have been almost completely banned in media.

---Actors/Actresses with Tristate New York accents.
-Had USA had these ridiculous American accent standards, They have would not been allowed to speak with their regional accents.

It's difficult to compare US and China. The US has very uniform accents, and some of your examples only have hints of Southern accents. They're not heavy at all, and to those not very familiar with American accents, they just sound American. If you go to the Deep South, some people really are difficult to understand, with both Clinton and Bush will sound like they're just speaking standard American English by comparison. Besides, government officials are very different from newscasters and actors. Among the people with the thickest accents are Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek. Very difficult to understand both what they were saying.


China is also hardly alone in seeking newscasters to have the best pronunciations and voices. How many newscasters does China need anyway? And there's like a billion people to choose from. No wonder they put the standards very high. But it's not the only country that does that. Japan broadcasts standard Japanese in NHK, UK does with BBC, etc. And these countries have different dialects/accents that are very distinctive within a short distance from their capitals. By contrast, the difference between Californian and Minnesotan accents is fairly small.


There are many uses for standardized language so as not to call attention to any individual accents. Animated cartoons, sci-fi, historical period films, etc. often make use of more "neutral" voices/accents to avoid any unintended meaning. So the audience won't be distracted by that alien who sounds like he's from Brooklyn. Or they might invite a lawsuit if that talking monkey in the animated film is voiced like they came from a specific racial group or from a certain region, when that's not the intent of the show at all. So as to be "neutral", even beggars in Chinese historical period dramas speak standard Chinese with standard accents rather than put any region's accent to those roles. Hollywood and shows from most countries go to great lengths to create the proper "neutral" accents. However, what sounds "neutral" in Taiwan from an all-Taiwan cast will inadvertently sound like it has some kind of Fujian/Taiwanese influence to mainland Chinese ears though. If you know Mandarin, one of the movies that has distracting accents is Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. It has very good cinematography, but unfortunately, both Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh have difficulties in Mandarin. And they both sounded like school kids reciting their Mandarin lines rather than saying them naturally. There's hardly any emotions in the dialogue from these two because they really can't speak Mandarin in real life. Such is the importance of the accents, and not just say the lines so the "audience can understand".
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Old 09-04-2018, 06:02 AM
 
Location: Taipei
6,776 posts, read 5,132,830 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
If you know Mandarin, one of the movies that has distracting accents is Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. It has very good cinematography, but unfortunately, both Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh have difficulties in Mandarin. And they both sounded like school kids reciting their Mandarin lines rather than saying them naturally. There's hardly any emotions in the dialogue from these two because they really can't speak Mandarin in real life. Such is the importance of the accents, and not just say the lines so the "audience can understand".
The no. 1 weak-link in that film was Chen Chang. He was just awful. Otherwise the movie was really good in spite of Fat and Yeoh's accents.
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:23 PM
 
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I heard China Rich Girlfriend will be made into a movie after the success of Crazy Rich Asians.
I wonder how they will pick actors because some roles are supposed to be native Mandarin speakers who can speak perfect British English (and goodlooking).
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Old 09-04-2018, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
9,876 posts, read 6,627,869 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
^^Yes TV shows and movies in China do show other accents. As you know, when they need to portray a peasant from Henan in a movie, Henan accent is used.
American TV shows pretty much use the same standard accent too, unless they want to emphasize the regional identify or ethnic background.
Yep - for historical films and shows, they'll often have Mao speak with a Hunan accent, or Zhu De or Deng Xiaoping with a heavy Sichuan accent.
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:12 AM
 
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Those "rolling their tongues" are from Northern China and these shows are based in Beijing and other Northern cities. "rolling tongues" are less heard for the tv stations based in Shanghai, Western and Southern China.

In Taiwan, if they can also speak another dialect at a young age, they may have an accent. There are more people with Mandarin speaking parents or grand parents in Taipei, a city where many people from Mainland China moved to when the KMT moved to Taiwan. Their accents are not affected by Taiwanese and Hakka dialects.

Also Singapore and Malaysia Chinese can speak Mandarin. The older people have heavier accents because they were speaking a Southern dialect before they learnt Mandarin. The younger pople speak more like Mandarin spoken by people in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Changsha, Nanchang, Xiamen, Shenzhen and Taipei. But they also add Singlish and English to their Mandarin. They can speak at least three, Singlish, English and Mandarin.

Regional accents are quite acceptable in Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese society. For example, in Beijing and Shanghai, people come from many different parts of China, many different accents of Standard Mandarin can be heard and for the people there, different accents are not too hard to understand. Maybe more difficult for a non Chinese who learnt Standard Mandarin.
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